With less that 3 weeks to go before the Olympic Games start in London the main focus has been on the Olympic torch relay which has brought Olympic fever to all parts of the UK since the Torch set out on its journey on May 19, 2012. When the Torch reaches its destination on July 27, 8,000 inspirational people, all having been nominated by someone they know, will have carried the Torch the length and breadth of the UK.
People have come out in their thousands everyday to watch as the torch passes and there has been a real community spirit despite the UK having a very wet summer. The Olympic Torch even blew out once although there is a back up flame called the “mother flame” which is the one that has travelled all the way from Greece. There have been other mishaps too.
Every day over 100 people carry the Torch ranging from celebrities like Will.I.am, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to injured soldiers in wheel chairs. The relay has been a hugely emotional experience for all taking part and for many it has been a huge challenge to walk just a few steps due to their disabilities.
Two people were burned and hospitalised when fuel used to light the flame spilled out from the truck. The Olympic Torch is surrounded by a security team made up of police men and women who run between 10 and 15 miles a day each; and they have been needed on several occasions. A man on a bike tried to ride alongside the runner and was quickly bundled away, whilst in Leeds an elderly lady tried to touch the torch believing it would bring her good luck. Also, two young boys snatched the Olympic torch from a relay participant, as the flame passed through Coventry.
Meanwhile the venues for the Olympics have all been ready for many months and all the tickets were sold many months ago too. Despite the huge price of a ticket, millions of people applied online and despite a few computer glitches due to overwhelming demand, the ticket sale process has been smooth.
The only possible disruption to the Olympics is a possible strike by bus drivers who want to be paid more money because they say they will be carrying more passengers. Nevertheless London has promised to put on a fantastic opening ceremony despite not spending the same money as Beijing did four years ago.
The only issue is whether Brits will be tired of sport after several big sporting events in a row. Euro 2012 football tournament has just finished as has the tennis at Wimbledon. England is playing Australia at cricket and there has just been the British Formula 1 Grand Prix at Silverstone. All this has taken place during the wettest summer for a generation. It’s been the wettest June since records began and as I write this, there has just been a month’s rainfall in just a few hours with many places across the country under flood water!
Our guest blogger, David Brice, is the owner of the online travel agent Global Holidays and lecturer in Travel and Tourism at Leeds City College in the U.K.
Flickr.com Photo Credit:
London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay by Liam Gladdy